Its me at Little Sahara

Wildlife Caretaker – First Two Weeks

What an intro to the ‘Best job in the World’, the last two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. From touchdown in Adelaide to writing this post from the jetty pier of Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, everyday has been jam packed with activities, excursions, meetings, and projections for the future. The Wildlife Caretaker schedule has been confirmed and is set in stone for the next 6 months, which is amazing, nerve racking, and best of all full on! It is actually a giant three page spread sheet that continually makes me smile. This journey is truly just beginning and the intro has been amazing with still so much to look forward to. So let’s jump right into it, this is my quick summary of the first two weeks on the job and on Kangaroo Island.

Vivonne Bay
Vivonne Bay
I arrived on KI last Saturday the 14th of December and got stuck in right away. Myself and Marc Leopold (SATC) rented a car for the first weekend and basically toured all parts of the island I would be working at for the next six months, plus some parts neither of us had been before. After some hiking, sandboarding, lots of photo taking and beach chilling, it was time for Marc to head back to Adelaide and for me to start touring with Exceptional Kangaroo Island. I joined one of EKI’s groups on began three days of intensive learning about everything Kangaroo Island. The guides with EKI are an absolute wealth of knowledge and it was a treat to confirm all of the facts I had read plus gain a much more in depth understanding of the island though the eyes of the locals. See the link above for a short video and more detailed post about my time with EKI.

After the first couple days touring the island, I was joined by resident Tourism Australia film maker miss Ellenor Argyropoulos who had been sent out to travel with me for a few days filming a short doco on a ‘day in the life’ of the Wildlife Caretaker in South Australia. We were lucky and got some great weather, combined with equally good wildlife encounters. Over the three days she was here we both got some stunning content to work with and I’m sure the upcoming videos are going to be awesome. I’ll keep an eye out for the doc and share the link as soon as I have it.  Overall it was an absolute pleasure touring with EKI and Ellanor and the perfect intro to the role of Wildlife Caretaker on KI.

There is so much to see and do here, the island continues to amaze daily. The summer is officially in full swing in South Australia and here on Kangaroo Island everyone is loving it, including the wildlife! Here are a few snaps from the last 14 days.

KI Kangaroo grazing at Vivonne Bay Lodge
KI Kangaroo grazing at Vivonne Bay Lodge
Road leading from Penneshaw to Prospect Hill and the western part of KI 24-12-13
Road leading from Penneshaw to Prospect Hill
The first Bottlenose of the pod arrive to say hello. Incredible day swimming with wild dolphins off the coast of KI.
The first Bottlenose of the pod arrive to say hello. Incredible day swimming with wild dolphins off the coast of KI.
The second week was spent swimming with dolphins, surfing and body boarding, getting to know the locals, spotting Koalas and Kangaroos, and some great road tripping to the far reaches of KI.

I was introduced to the team responsible for the Glossy Black Cockatoo regeneration project which is an initiative on KI to protect the last remaining population of the unique and incredibly threatened genus. There are only about 300 of the beautiful bird left in the wild and they all live here on Kangaroo Island. I have been extremely lucky to see eight and also to meet the guys responsible for managing the project. I am hoping to do some work with them in the upcoming months.

Swimming with Bottlenose dolphins is quickly becoming my favourite thing to do on KI. They are so incredibly inviting, curious, playful and docile, it is amazing to swim with them and something I highly recommend to anyone who has never had the privilege of doing so. I wrote a quick profile on that experience under the ‘How To – South Australia’ portion of this blog. There is also a short video which I think you will very much enjoy.

From the marine adventures on KI it was time to head back inland and join one of the Adventure Tours that frequent the island. It was also time for me to pick up shop and move out of Kingscote, destination Vivonne Bay and the South West corner of the island.

KI Adventure Tours, is based out of Adelaide running one and two day tours of the island, the two day tours stay overnight at the Vivonne Bay Lodge which happened to be conveniently where I was also staying! Nice. I jumped onto one of the day two trips and had an awesome experience touring around the island through the eyes of one of the guests on tour. It was amazing to not be the tour leader for a change. I should take tours more often, honestly I really enjoyed it. The group was fun and the guide fantastic. I think that every guide on KI is a literal walking encyclopedia, at least the ones I’ve met. These guys and gals love their jobs and frequently remind me that it is the ‘best job in the world’, gotta love Aussie humour.

I made a quick profile of that experience as well, have a gander here.

Enter Christmas on Kangaroo Island and 30+ degree weather, what a scorcher!  For my first Aussie holiday season I was kindly invited by a host of different people to join the celebrations on the beach with their friends and families, barbequing prawns and having sea food skewers over a couple cold brewskis. Sounds pretty awesome eh!! Not bad considering Toronto was in the middle of an ice storm with unseasonably low temperatures of -18 and lower. Ouch, I think I’ll stick to the beach.

That being said, this was a special Christmas for my family back home and I would be lying if I didn’t say I missed them. My mother’s birthday is December 25th, one she tends to remind me Jesus shares with her, and this one in particular was an important one. It was amazing to be able to skype my mother on her birthday from Vivonne Bay Lodge on such a remote and beautiful part of the world, truly a special moment. There is a part of me that wishes I could have been there with her, but my mom knows me better than anyone and understands my desires and passions to live life to its absolute fullest and make the most of this ‘Best Jobs’ opportunity. I got the chance to chat with the family for the whole morning before taking off to join some new found friends for a glorious Christmas lunch under the pale blue of another perfect summer sky.

My two days off over Christmas came at a perfect time and allowed me to sort my priorities and continue to produce content for this blog, the South Australia Tourism Commission, and the operators who were so kindly allowing me to partake in their adventure activities.

Leading up to the new year I worked with KI Outdoor Action based from Vivonne Bay focusing on Sandboarding, Quad Biking, and Kayaking, with me throwing a bit of surfing and body boarding into the mix! It was a pretty incredible few days finishing off the first two weeks on the job. Please have a look at that video and short narrative here.

And it’s the end of the year already, can you believe it? I am still having trouble trying to sum up 2013. For me it has been an absolute whirlwind which I loved being at the centre of. From the beginning as a G Adventures Tour Leader in the Patagonia to the uncertainty of my next move in life, to the Best Jobs and all of the stages, to the ups and downs and emotional rollercoaster of being a part of such an intense competition, to winning and having my life literally changed forever. I then took 6 months off and fulfilled the life-long goal of visiting every country in Latin America and backpacked 10,000+ km overland through the heart of the Amazon Jungle and back country of continental South America.

There is so much I could highlight from 2013, but want to keep this post focused on the first two weeks of the Wildlife Caretaker ‘Best Jobs’ position in South Australia. It has again been the perfect introduction to the job and I am going into 2014 with a giant smile and such a great outlook for the future. This is the perfect platform to really push the limits of social media content sharing and adventure tourism within South Australia. It is going to be a huge year for Adelaide, the SATC, and everyone in this state, and I feel privileged to be along for the ride.

See you in the New Year!

Greg

Home sweet home!!
Home sweet home!!